Featured Post

NUM-INOUS COMICS PT. 2

This essay is a very belated response to a " part 1 " published in February 2015. The gist of that essay was a response to a corre...

Sunday, June 9, 2013

QUICK CANTER ON A HOBBESIAN HORSE

I've recently started reading the "Caprona trilogy" of Edgar Rice Burroughs, two of which-- THE LAND THAT TIME FORGOT and THE PEOPLE THAT TIME FORGOT-- became dinosaur-adventure films in the 1970s.  But it's not the novels proper that relate to my Hobbes-derived definition of narrative goal-affects-- i.e, "glory" and "persistence"-- but the introduction to Modern Library's 2002 collection of the three novels.  This unattributed introduction quotes Gore Vidal, talking about his childhood love of Burroughs' books.  At the conclusion of his reminiscence, Vidal said:

In its naive way, the Tarzan legend returns us to that Eden where, free of clothes and the inhibitions of an oppressive society, a man can achieve in reverie his continuing need... to prevail as well as endure.
Clearly, Vidal's idea of "prevailing" links with the value of "glory," which I have linked to the Bataillean concept of "expenditure," of going beyond what one needs just to survive, while "enduring" is characteristic of the concept of "acquisition," of maintaining the existential status quo.  I find it interesting that Vidal should make this mental leap, given that most figures from the world of canonical literature don't show any ability to think in such abstract terms.

I have some thoughts as to how these categories of goal-affect might relate to Frank Fukuyama's categories of "thymos:" *megalothymia* and *isothymia.*  But these will be elaborated in a separate essay.

No comments: